Good for a Girl by Lauren Fleshman EPUB & PDF – eBook Details Online
- Author: Lauren Fleshman
- Language: English
- Genre: Women’s Biographies
- Format: PDF / EPUB
- Size: 2 MB
- Price: Free
You can do ANYTHING, Lauren. ANYTHING!”
My dad’s callused hands gripped my shoulders and his ice-blue eyes
forced mine open wider with their intensity. “You hear me?!” I tried not to
blink. I was eight.
“They’re just scared of you. They know you can beat them. They don’t
want to lose to a girl, but too fucking BAD! You go back and tell ’em you’re
playing, and if they give you shit, you kick them RIGHT in the balls, and
drag them down here by the ear, and I’ll take care of the rest.”
He dusted his
hands together like he was about to take care of business, and added a
conspiratorial wink. It was the right mix of empowering and absurd,
loosening the knot in my throat and making me smile, just as he intended.
Frank Fleshman seemed to speak in all caps. He didn’t turn the dial down
on his personality, or language, or anything really, for someone else’s
comfort. He was the kind of dad who wanted sons, but he got two daughters
and refused to adjust his parenting plan.
“Jesus, Frank!” my mom would reply in these situations, followed by a
gentle plea for peaceful resolution. But Joyce’s shy kindness had a hard time
being heard over the boom of Frank’s charisma or the apparent simplicity of
his solutions. So I kicked the neighborhood boys in the balls. And then they
let me play.
• • •
MY WORLD WAS different from my mom’s in a million ways, but the one made
apparent to me first was the central role of sports. The first women’s NCAA
championships in track and field were held in 1981, three months before I
was born. Technically, my mom’s time in high school overlapped with the
passing of Title IX, but its promise of equal access for women and girls in
sports took time to materialize.
In 1971, the year before Title IX was passed, fewer than 300,000 girls
played high school sports—compared to 3.6 million boys—and my mom
never met one. She did love playing ping-pong in PE class, and she had a
deadly curve, according to my dad, whom she started dating in middle
school. I saw it in action a couple of times at Super Bowl parties, but she was
oddly shy about it, rarely playing a full game. She didn’t seem to know how
to claim athletic movement as her own.
My mom would have been good at sports. Dad, too, for that matter. He
was too busy getting in fights and smoking weed in high school. But I could
tell Dad was athletic, because he worked manual labor building sets as a
propmaker and I saw him move his body powerfully all the time. My mom’s
body was directed to household tasks with a side of gardening, until the one
time I convinced her to go for a run with me in high school.
As she popped
powerfully off her midfoot and lifted her knees, I almost gasped. I recognized
her distinct stride as my own. Running is hard, and with no base fitness, she
couldn’t run for longer than a couple minutes. But I never looked at her body
the same way again. Like millions of women, she carried a treasure chest of
undiscovered athletic potential.
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